2017 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee-Eight Touring Bikes | First Ride Review

For 2017, all Harley-Davidson Touring and Trike models are powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin, and Touring models get all-new Showa suspension. (Photos by Riles & Nelson and courtesy Harley-Davidson)
For 2017, all Harley-Davidson Touring and Trike models are powered by the new Milwaukee-Eight Big Twin, and Touring models get all-new Showa suspension. (Photos by Riles & Nelson and courtesy Harley-Davidson)

As you’ve almost certainly read on our website or in Kickstarts in the November 2016 issue, for 2017 Harley-Davidson has launched an all-new engine platform. Called the Milwaukee-Eight—a name that pays homage to its birthplace and its number of valves—it’s the ninth generation of Harley’s Big Twin, superseding the Twin Cam 88 engine that debuted way back in 1998 in 1999 models. The 88-cubic-inch Twin Cam has been refined and improved over the years, its displacement ultimately growing to 103ci and 110ci, depending on the model, and it continues to power more than a dozen models in Harley’s lineup.

The Milwaukee-Eight 107 is the ninth generation of Harley-Davidson's Big Twin line. It has Harley's iconic look, sound and feel but has been thoroughly modernized.
The Milwaukee-Eight 107 is the ninth generation of Harley-Davidson’s Big Twin line. It has Harley’s iconic look, sound and feel but has been thoroughly modernized.

For now, the Milwaukee-Eight powers all Touring and Trike models, in two displacements and three variations: a 107ci (1,750cc) version with oil-cooled cylinder heads for models without fairing lowers, such as the Street Glide, Road Glide, Electric Glide Ultra Classic, Road King and Freewheeler; a 107ci version with liquid-cooled cylinder heads for models with fairing lowers, such as the Ultra Limited, Road Glide Ultra and Tri Glide Ultra; and a 114ci (1,870cc) version with liquid-cooled cylinder heads for the CVO Limited and CVO Street Glide (the CVO Breakout is powered by the air-cooled Twin Cam 110B).

After spending two days riding more than 400 miles on several 2017 Touring models, with most of my seat time on the Street Glide, I can confidently say that the Milwaukee-Eight is a home run. And even though the new engine gets most of the attention, the new Showa suspension in all Touring (but not Trike) models is just as impressive. The development arc for the Touring line, which started with the new chassis for 2009 and continued through the Project Rushmore campaign, is now complete. Harley has always had the styling part nailed, but in recent years it has put its considerable engineering resources toward creating an integrated package, one that honors the past, embraces the future, offers more performance and makes the rider’s and passenger’s comfort, safety and enjoyment a top priority.

Harley-Davidson's 2017 press launch included a 2-day, 400-mile test ride around Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. This photo of the CVO Ultra Limited was taken on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway.
Harley-Davidson’s 2017 press launch included a 2-day, 400-mile test ride around Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula. This photo of the CVO Ultra Limited was taken on the Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway.

Harley-Davidson doesn’t design an all-new engine very often, especially not a Big Twin that will come to dominate the company’s lineup. There’s a lot riding on the Milwaukee-Eight—the heavy burden of history, the strong expectations of core customers, the financial success of a multi-billion-dollar global company. Heading up such a project is a big responsibility, and the job fell to Alex Bozmoski, Chief Powertrain Engineer, a 34-year Motor Company veteran. Bozmoski isn’t the pencil-necked geek sort of engineer; he’s old school, a big, affable guy who clearly doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. When Bozmoski introduced the Milwaukee-Eight to the press and spent two days getting grilled with questions, he took it all in stride. Sitting next to him at dinner on the final night of the launch, clearly buoyed by the positive feedback he’d gotten from nitpicky journalists, he said, “It was exciting to work on a clean-sheet design.” In addition to meeting design, budget and scheduling targets, a big part of his job was to make sure the entire team worked together rather than isolated in silos. No one was allowed to “hurry up” to finalize a particular component or system and “let the cement dry,” forcing everyone else to adapt to something that couldn’t be changed. “No one was done until we were all done,” he said.

Harley-Davidson Chief Powertrain Engineer Alex Bozmoski was the Milwaukee-Eight project lead.
Harley-Davidson Chief Powertrain Engineer Alex Bozmoski was the Milwaukee-Eight project lead. (Photo by the author)

As with Project Rushmore, customer research established the design criteria for the Milwaukee-Eight. Keeping the faithful happy while also attracting new customers and meeting ever more stringent emissions and sound regulations (the new engine is Euro4 compliant, for example) is like aiming at multiple moving targets. With a global customer base and serious competition from Indian, Victory, Yamaha and others, Harley-Davidson can’t be complacent. Customers wanted a new engine that has more power, runs cooler, vibrates less at idle and is narrower between the legs, yet still has the iconic look, sound and feel for which Harley is known.

Certain features of the new engine were set in stone before the project began. Historical precedent required it to be a 45-degree V-twin with air-cooled fins and pushrods. It had to have the characteristic rumble and potato-potato exhaust note. It had to make stump-pulling torque as soon as the throttle was cracked open. And it had to look “right.” As one customer put it, the new engine should be instantly recognizable as a Harley Big Twin from 100 feet away, but look new and unique from 10 feet away.

Cut-away of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 shows passages for precision oil-cooled cylinder heads (in blue) and anti-knock sensors on the inside of each cylinder.
Cut-away of the Milwaukee-Eight 107 shows passages for precision oil-cooled cylinder heads (in blue) and anti-knock sensors on the inside of each cylinder.

Compared to the Twin Cam 103, the Milwaukee-Eight 107 gets its 4 extra cubic inches from a larger bore (100mm vs. 98.4mm) but retains the same 111.1mm stroke. Both have pushrod-operated overhead valves with hydraulic, self-adjusting lifters, but the 107 has four valves per cylinder instead of two, giving the new engine 50 percent more intake and exhaust flow capacity. Also, instead of the Twin Cam’s dual camshafts, the Milwaukee-Eight has a single, chain-driven camshaft that’s lighter, quieter, less complex and reduces friction. The compression ratio has been bumped up from 9.7:1 to 10:1.

Read our 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide road test review

Harley claims the new 107 makes 111 lb-ft of torque at the crank at 3,250 rpm, compared to 105 lb-ft for the 103, with more torque across the board. Bikes with the new engine are said to be quicker off the line (up to 11 percent faster at 0-60 mph) and in top-gear roll-ons (up to 12 percent faster at 60-80 mph). My seat-of-the-pants dyno backs up these claims. With minimal driveline lash and throttle-by-wire calibration that gives a very direct connection between the right grip and the rear wheel, twisting the throttle on any of the Touring models I rode made them leap forward with authority. There’s a deep well of grunt to draw from, and I was surprised to have the back tire break loose when I goosed the throttle on wet roads. And the 110 in the CVOs? Pure hot rod, a real beast!

A new counterbalancer in the Milwaukee-Eight reduces vibration at idle by 75 percent, and a redesigned exhaust moves heat away from the rider and passenger.
A new counterbalancer in the Milwaukee-Eight reduces vibration at idle by 75 percent, and a redesigned exhaust moves heat away from the rider and passenger.

A new counterbalancer reduces vibration at idle by 75 percent, which Bozmoski said was a “sweet spot”—enough vibration to have character and keep core customers happy but not so much as to be unpleasant and turn new customers off. The Milwaukee-Eight is still rubber-mounted, which quells vibes throughout the operating range. Less vibration is all good in my book, and it gives the engine a nicely refined feel. At one point during the ride we were held up by a construction delay, and I sat there idling next to the leader at the front of the line. I was on a 2017 Street Glide with the oil-cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107, which rumbled along in a mellow fashion. He was on a 2016 Street Glide with the Twin Cam 103, which bounced around in the frame like a Mexican jumping bean. His mirrors were aflutter and the jiggling smartphone attached to his handlebar seemed determined to break loose from its mount.

The Milwaukee-Eight 107's redesigned rocker covers and air cleaner cover give the Big Twin a fresh look. All-new Touring suspension includes the Showa Dual Bending Valve fork.
The Milwaukee-Eight 107’s redesigned rocker covers and air cleaner cover give the Big Twin a fresh look. All-new Touring suspension includes the Showa Dual Bending Valve fork.

Reducing heat and improving fuel economy were major design criteria for the Milwaukee-Eight. According to Bozmoski, a major factor in reducing heat was more precise engine management, which prevents the creation of heat in the first place. New anti-knock sensors on each cylinder allow the ignition timing to stay right on the edge of detonation, providing the most power and best fuel efficiency. Lowering idle speed to 850 rpm also reduced heat and noise. Improvements to airflow and combustion, including using dual spark plugs for each cylinder, and precision oil or liquid cooling of the cylinder heads as well as repositioning the rear exhaust pipe and relocating the catalytic converter further reduced heat. Weather during our test ride around Washington’s Olympic Peninsula was cool and overcast with a fair amount of rain, so the conditions were not ideal for getting a feel for the improvements in heat management. And Harley doesn’t make any mile-per-gallon claims for the Milwaukee-Eight, but says total range is as good or better than with the Twin Cam.

Other improvements include lighter valves, optimized cover designs, driveline improvements and an anti-backlash gear in the transmission, all of which reduce mechanical noise and allow the rider to enjoy more of the rumbling exhaust note. To compensate for the lower idle speed, a new charging system provides 50 percent more output to the battery at idle, which also helps power accessory lights, audio, heated gear, etc. Slimmer primary and air cleaner covers reduce the bulk of the engine between the rider’s legs, which helps those with shorter inseams feel more comfortable and more easily get their feet on the ground at stops. And redesigned covers for the rockers and air cleaner gives the new engine a more modern look.

The all-new Touring suspension, with Showa DBV fork and emulsion rear shock, delivers excellent compliance and ride quality.
The all-new Touring suspension, with Showa DBV fork and emulsion rear shock, delivers excellent compliance and ride quality.

As mentioned above, the Milwaukee-Eight is clearly the star of the show for 2017, but the all-new Touring suspension deserves a nomination for best supporting role. The new 49mm non-adjustable Showa Dual Bending Valve fork provides the linear damping performance of a cartridge-style fork but at a lower weight. And the new emulsion rear shock, also made by Showa, features a larger piston as well as a “set and forget” remote preload adjuster that provides 15-30 percent more range, depending on the model. Improvements in suspension performance allowed Harley to recalibrate the ABS system for more sensitivity since the wheels stay in better contact with the road. Even though suspension travel is unchanged—on the Street Glide there’s 4.6 inches in front, 2.1 inches out back—the difference in ride quality is dramatic. When we last tested a Street Glide Special in 2014, we said, “the rear suspension beats you up on a bumpy road regardless of the [preload] setting.” We maintained a pretty fast pace on the 2017 Touring bikes, and I hammered the Street Glide over rough pavement, dips and technical corners. It always felt planted, with good suspension compliance front and rear and never wallowed or transmitted big hits to my lower spine.

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra gets the Milwaukee-Eight 107 with precision liquid-cooled cylinder heads, with the twin radiators inside the fairing lowers.
The 2017 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra gets the Milwaukee-Eight 107 with precision liquid-cooled cylinder heads, with the twin radiators inside the fairing lowers.
The 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Ultra Limited is powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 with precision liquid-cooled cylinder heads, and it delivers serious performance.
The 2017 Harley-Davidson CVO Ultra Limited is powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 with precision liquid-cooled cylinder heads, and it delivers serious performance.

All of the Project Rushmore improvements return for 2017, such as the Reflex Linked ABS brakes, One-Touch latches, Splitstream vents and more. And all of the Touring models are equipped with the hydraulically actuated Assist & Slip clutch, which is said to be lighter and the lever and provide more positive engagement, but my clutch hand still got a workout when we were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Truthfully, I struggled to find much to complain about. It seemed more difficult to find neutral at a stop, but other than that, the new Milwaukee-Eight and the new Showa suspension make the 2017 Touring and CVO line some of the best motorcycles ever to come out of Milwaukee.

The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 107 with oil-cooled cylinder heads.
The 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide is powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 107 with oil-cooled cylinder heads.

2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Specs
Base Price: $20,999
Website: harley-davidson.com
Engine Type: Air/oil-cooled, transverse 45-degree V-twin, OHV, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,746cc
Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 111.1mm
Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated assist-and-slipper clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Wheelbase: 64.0 in.
Rake/Trail: 26 degrees/6.8 in.
Seat Height: 27.0 in.
Claimed Wet Weight: 830 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 6 gals.

Watch our video interview with Paul James, Director of Motorcycle Product Planning at Harley-Davidson:


  1. Nice write-up on the 2017 Harley’s. I rode a 2017 CVO Street Glide and it has a 114 ci engine and not the 110 mentioned in this article. The 114 is a hot rod motor, no kidding. Very impressed all around. I also rode a 2017 Road Glide with the new 107 and loved the engine. Wished I could have rode it all day. Nice job Harley.

    • Hot Rod motor? My old 1983 VT750C was tested at 12.8 sec. and 107 mph. Motor still untouched. And a new BMW R1200 turns a 10.8 sec. 1/4 mile. A Harley takes that long to pull 40 to 80 mph. 30 mpg is what my Cadillac DTS gets, and it can catch any Harley even giving them a head start before it hits 60. 900 pounds is just too heavy for a two wheeler. And $30,000, can you say, “Thanks UNIONS”! Now that the unions have take over GM, and the Mafia (Fiat) owns Chrysler, America Made just doesn’t ring true.

      • Certainly not if you buy a BMW. They are nice but way too complicated for my taste. I have always found it funny how many folks like to quote quarter mile times as if they had anything to do with the bike being fast. Harleys do what they do, they look good and are comfortable for the long haul. If you want to add to Germany’s economy then please feel free. Harley Davidsons are engineered and manufactured right here in the U.S. and to plenty of us that is important.

        • Right manufactured in the USA and… India (check it out). Wow 4 valves per cylinder.. groundbreaking for The Company. Biggest mistake was getting rid of Erik Buell and his bikes. Want #s, 1200 Sportster 45-48 bhp,Buell 1200 91 bhp (101 bhp with EFI). Yes I own a Buell.

          • Not to mention all the parts made in Japan and the clothing made in China.

            As for Eric Buell, HD essentially bought him out and shut him down. If they had a brain in their collective heads HD would have brought him in house and put him to work.

          • What year sportster 1200 are you talking about? 1988?? New 1200 sportsters put out 70hp, my 2003 puts out 50-55hp. And for some strange reason my 2003 smokes my friends 2016 sportster roadster and and 2010 xl1200. And I own a buell too, it’s a shame Harley wouldn’t let Erik do his thing, they just kept trying to dictate how he should make bikes.

        • My 1998 Road King with a stage 2 setup was faster than the new Road Kings with a stage 2. It also weighs hundreds of pounds less and handles the curves better (probably because it weighs hundreds of pounds less). The new bike was way smoother on the straight road. If Harleys aren’t trying to be the fastest, then make me a Road King with a much smaller and more efficient version of the new engine, a lighter trans can be used with the smaller engine and a lighter frame can hold it all together. They could make a great Road King again; if they would stop pandering to the “build it bigger” crowd.

    • How about a real “Hot Rod” touring machine? BMW’s K1600, 160bhp and 129 lb.-ft. of torque. Turning in a 2.9-second 0–60 time and backing it up with a quarter-mile run of 11.2 sec. at 118.7 mph. MSRP is $23,200) and get electronically adjustable suspension, integrated Bluetooth for the satellite/MP3/FM radio, traction control, central locking saddlebags and a look-around-corners Adaptive smart headlight. I just can’t compare the silky smooth inline six to “Milwaukee Vibrator” V Twin? Plus the BMW club support.

      • Bama Bill, BMW’s big 6 cylinder is a helluva bike but does not have the relaxed cadence of Harley’s V-twin going down the road and it doesn’t sound great or look great either. The reason we ride Harleys is more than mere horsepower ratings & 0-60 times. Although I like ’em all, I ride my Street Glide with a hotrodded engine more than any other bike; even when doing a 1000 mile ride. It simply makes me feel better than my Gold Wings or BMWs ever did. The BMW is a German Gold Wing; not a Harley.

        • Dave; That’s it in a nutshell…The Big Beemer is probably a nice bike, but as far as i’m concerned
          it’s all about lookin good, soundin good, and most importantly FEELIN good. And no bike will do that for me like a Big FL, FLH, or FLHT. I don’t WANT to ride over 70 MPH, actually I like about 65 out there. And my 1999 Softail FATBOY hits all those points for me. But I’m in no hurry to get anywhere, it’s about the RIDE.

          • Amen Tom. I set my Street Glide’s cruise control at 50-60 on most state routes and feel relaxed & comfy. My wife & I converse, point out scenery, smell fresh cut grass, and enjoy the ride. On most other bikes I just never reached that level of enjoyment even though they were excellent motorcycles. Must be getting old.

      • The BMW makes its maximum HP at 7,750 rpm’s and torque at 5,250 rpm’s with a redline of 8,500 rpm’s. I don’t know about you, but as a touring rider I don’t ride hovering around redline, preferring a more relaxed, low revving motor at freeway speeds, exactly where Harleys make their maximum torque.

        • You got it Tom; a revvy engine cruising down the highway is not fun. There’s something about a big V-twin chugging down a country road that makes everything right in my world. I had a Cycle Rama 575 cam installed in my 103 FLHX, it makes plenty of torque at 1500 RPM, and feels really nice cruising in sixth gear two-up at 17-1800. Even when accelerating through the gears I rarely exceed 3500.

          • And I’ll add that everyone talks about Harley vibration. It’s there at idle, but the bikes are quite smooth when moving. In fact my previous 4 cylinder bikes would put my hands to sleep with their high frequency vibrations, the low frequency pulses of the Harley do not.

          • Dan; That’s right…no vibration when on the highway. Matter of fact, I can ride all day and my throttle hand feels nothing. Can’t say THAT for most of the jap bikes I’ve owned! The 107s are a step above THAT…I’ll keep my 103 a few more years nothing wrong with it at ALL

          • After removing the cat from my 103, and having it dyno tuned, I’m not sure I would gain much from the new 107 in stock form. I was fine with the power of the 103 stock, I did this to remove heat.

          • Dan; I’ve got the FLHTP Police Model so not too much heat (no lowers)
            I put some nice RUSH slip ons on it, cat is in the header so no worries and
            runs fine maybe a pop now and then and SOUNDS great, not too loud just enough to hear something’s there.

      • I shopped BMW’s K1600 and to get the same options on a Harley Ultra BMW’s MSRP is 34,000. Add insult to injury and BMW says to plan on bringing it back to the dealer every 6,000 miles.
        Now you know why Harley Davidson is so popular in Germany.

          • As far as 5000 mi service that to me means an oil change and checking bolts. If you want to pay the dealer $150-$300 for an oil change that’s your business. I’ll change my own and tighten my own bolts. Mine’s never been back to the dealer and probably never will, which is the good thing about harleys. Anybody that knows how to turn a wrench can fix about anything on them, and guys have been doing just THAT for many years. I’d hate to work on that 1600 tho.

          • I would recommend at least having the dealer do service during the warranty period. My point was that the 6000 mile service intervals of the BMW K1600 are actually better than average. I have an Ultra Limited, and I would guess that most buyers do not do their own service. Why? because if one can swing a 28k bike, they can swing the service costs. I personally would rather ride in my off time than work on a bike. I like having the service done why I’m at work, and then after work I can ride. Some people like working on their vehicles, I don’t, and some services are quite extensive, so I also wouldn’t have the necessary tools.

          • If you like giving away your money to the dealer that is your choice. Most service items on a check list are checked off by just looking and seeing that no adjustment is necessary but you pay for the adjustment nonetheless. Mostly a 1000 mile service checkup is dealer doing a very expensive oil change because that is all that is really necessary. I find that people that say they would rather ride than wrench do not consider the time it takes to get your bike to the dealer and then go back out there and the time making the money to pay the dealer. I’d rather learn how to service as much of my bike as possible by purchasing the service manual, better yet, the service manual should be worked into the purchasing agreement for the bike. If you are just a bar hopper a broken down bike is not that big of a deal but if you travel on the bike then is behooves a biker to know how to fix his bike or have a clue what is causing the bike to misbehave when it happens.

          • Craig; I’m with you on that one. I’m semi retired and I MANAGE to squezze enough time in for an oil change now and then…LOL. You are right takes the better part of a day scheduling service bringing bike in then picking up, and it’s usually never ready on time plus you have inconvienenced another person as well to give you a ride. My first harley was a 1972 AMF Sportster XLH 1000. (w/o a kick starter) I learned how to wrench REAL quick on that one! Damn thing went thru bendixes like toilet paper. I finally gave up and looked for a slight incline whenever I parked it and just push started it.

          • I got my 1000 mile service free, I think Harley does that for everyone. My last car was stolen, on that car I did all my own oil changes, using Mobil 1 synthetic and Mobil 1oil filters, high end stuff. Insurance ended up paying me for an unmaintained vehicle because I could not prove maintenance was done. That’s when I figured it wasn’t worth it to me. And don’t think for a moment if there’s a way to weasel out of honoring a warranty, a manufacturer won’t do it, they can just say you didn’t properly maintain your vehicle, if doing your own service

          • It’s all about records of maintenance. Some warranty work, they will want records of maintenance. Bike gets stolen, insurance company will want records of maintenance. You want to sell the bike, I know I would want records of maintenance, and I suspect most would. Bottom line, you may have receipts, but you have no evidence in print that you’ve maintained the bike.

      • Jon…

        You’re right, I made a bit of a typo… I meant 4 valves per cylinder something Guzzi has had for a number of years now. I’m sure you could’ve figured that out but I guess you felt the need to defend your ride.

        The sad truth is that Harley’s aren’t on the cutting edge of anything and they certainly came late to dinner with their so called “new” engine.

        I’m not an HD hater, I have owned three, two Super Glides and a Tour Glide so I do respect the brand but for the price and what you get, I’d have to say my California 1400 is a far better deal and they’re certainly not lined up like lemmings as the HD’s are everywhere I go.

        Certainly no individuality with a Street Glide or any HD for that matter not when everyone and their brother has the same exact thing…


        • I didn’t buy a Ultra Limited for individuality, I bought if for comfortable touring. I’m tall and the FLHTK fits me well. The other touring bikes such as the Goldwing, and the BMW K1600GTL do not fit tall riders well IMO, I tried them, and I like my knees at 90 degrees or less, not the feet tucked back high behind the knees position of sport tourers, that used to have me jumping out of bed at night with foot and leg cramps. Plus I decided i wanted some features such as real cruse control, heated grips, built in navigation, satellite radio, lockable hard luggage including top case, all with large capacities. Look at the FJR1300es for example, small bags, and you can’t use the top case with a passenger, so when you would actually need more luggage capacity, you can’t use it. That just doesn’t work for me.

          • Dan,

            Glad to hear you found a bike that meets all your needs…

            I just can’t justify the expense of an Ultra Limited which sells for nearly $30,000 with a few options added. I purchased the Guzzi 1400 for much less than half the price of an Ultra.

            The Guzzi has spacious storage, cruise control, ABS, traction control and 3 engine maps, things that the Harley’s don’t offer even as an options. Guzzi has had the 8 valve 4 plug configuration for a number of years now so it has a proven track record.

            Navigation and music is nice but I get both on my smartphone streamed to my helmet speakers which sound much better than the external speakers blasting.

            To each their own I suppose, at this point I’m looking for value for money and trying not to break the bank. The Guzzi gives me a first class touring experience, in fact I just did a 4,200 mile cross country trip and the bike rode like a dream and I still have enough money leftover to spend on living life.

          • Other than the traction control, and 3 maps, the Harley Ultra comes with spacious storage, cruise control, and ABS, everything you said Harleys don’t offer. I like integrated GPS because I don’t have to put it on, and take it off my bike, and I listen to my GPS, and XM radio through earbuds plugged into the bike, not blasting through the external speaker. Riding around with music blasting through external speakers, is not my style. I like full dressers, like the Harley touring bikes, Goldwings, etc, and Moto Guzzi doesn’t make one. Also as a touring rider, I get comfort knowing there are Harley dealerships everywhere, Guzzi dealerships are sparse. Then there are the little things, Harley has seat, and windshield demos that you can try out before you buy, so you can actually see if you like them before putting your money down. Does any other manufacturer do this? Not as far as I know.And no one has the aftermarket parts available to them like Harleys do.

          • Most manufactures do have demo rides these days, it seems they’re becoming more and more popular and I did test ride the Guzzi before I purchased it, that’s what sealed the deal.

            The California Touring is a full sized nearly 800 lb touring motorcycle with hard Saddlebags and an accessory Top Box. All the things you like about the HD are what drive the price up into the 20-30 k range; that amount of money is something that I just can’t justify. I’d rather deal with having to disconnect my GPS periodically to save 10 or 15 grand and I’ll gladly stream HiDef music into my helmet via Bluetooth, so all my audio and navigational needs are covered.

            Also, I find it a little odd that you’ll give so much value to infotainment and not give any value to traction control, which is something that could potentially save your life… RbW throttle, traction control, ABS, and a Security System are all standard on the Guzzi. Harley models have no option at all for traction control and ABS is an expensive option.

            Also, Guzzi has a robust accessory catalog for the California so they’re not hurting in that regard either. Guzzi reliability is legendary with many bikes getting over a 100 k without significant engine work required, just basic routine maintenance usually will do.

            It was certainly no fun pulling the heads off my Harley’s on the side of the road due to valve failure when touring. At that time I was glad their dealer network was ubiquitous as without it a Harley owner was literally stuck back in the shovelhead days. (In May while crossing Death Valley on the Guzzi I assisted a couple that was broken down on their Harley, granted it was not a big deal but they had no tools. I pulled over and while they were gawking at my bike I was able get out my tool kit and get them back on the road in no time).

            If the machine is designed for longevity the need to have a dealer in every city and town diminishes. Furthermore, there are plenty of manufacturers without the number of dealers that Harley has, that includes Indian and Victory but you never hear of that being an issue with those brands. Personally, I would not buy a bike because of the number of dealers. In fact, when I had my Harleys the dealer was the last place I would ever want to take it.

            Most mechanics that are trained in Ducati, Triumph or BMW can work on Moto Guzzi; in fact most of the Euro dealers will service all those brands. Where I live there’s a Guzzi dealer just 15min away and where I winter in central FL there are two, so I’m confident about the dealer network. In case of a breakdown Guzzi offers free Roadside Assistance providing towing services to the nearest dealer and they’ll assist with alternative transportation or lodging if necessary. Hopefully, I’ll never need to test how well that works.

            So, all in all I’m happy with the Guzzi, it didn’t break the bank and it runs great and I’ll be departing on a second cross country trip this year on Columbus Day.

          • You misread my comment . Who said anything about demo rises? I said Harley has demo seats and windshields that they let you try out before buying. Seats, especially are expensive to just buy and hope you like them. I know of no other manufacturer that does that.Thanks

          • ABS iis standard on many Harleys, and I’ve gotten by just fine without traction control for like the last 40 years, or so. But then I don’t ride like an idiot.

          • I am sure your MotoGuzzi is a fine piece of machinery and everyone has their favorites for various reasons. Most bikes these days are at the peak of technological advances. But please, Moto’s have always been ugly. It’s like Volvo’s used to “boxy but good” to steal a quote from a movie. I started with Yamaha’s back in the 70’s, a 650 and a 750. I bought a used 1979 AMF Harley FLH in 1981 and I was in love. That thing shook, leaked oil, was not fast and had terrible brakes. But I smiled every time I rode it. It looked like a motorcycle, it sounded like a motorcycle and girls wanted to ride it. They did not care about any of that technical stuff, they thought it was sexy. Even tho it has taken Harley a long time to catch up to everyone else in technological advances, the bikes are still sexy. I have owned 7 Harley’s in the last 35 years and have never seriously considered another brand because it’s about the feeling you get when you ride one. I know all that means nothing to the Harley haters (I’m not including you) but Harley enthusiasts know exactly what I am talking about.

          • Mr. FLHTK,
            I hear ya about the feeling one gets from owning a Harley, when I purchased my first Super Glide back in the mid 80’s I felt like I was king of the hill. Most of my friends were still on the Japanese bikes so I was a bit of a rebel at the time, nowadays and to HD’s credit and benefit everyone seems to own one…

            Also as you mentioned, it most definitely worked wonders for my love life; I never bought into the old adage about a car or a bike being “a babe magnet” but that old Glide would most definitely attract members of the opposite sex. Its ironic but back in the old days I found myself defending the Harley as much as I’m defending or promoting the Guzzi.

            I started out owning all sorts of bikes, a Hodaka Super Rat, a Bultaco Alpina, 2 Honda SL350’s and a CL450, 2 Yamaha 650 twins and then on to 3 HD’s, two Super Glides and a Tour Glide. I even owned a Norton Commando for a while which looked great but was totally unreliable.

            I hadn’t owned a bike in a number of years and I was looking for something a little different. I certainly didn’t mean to start an anti Harley rant and I’m certainly not a hater but as much as their new 8 valve engine is a great improvement, it’s just that it’s not groundbreaking as the technology has been around for years and I wonder why it took them so long to do it and why they’re making such a big deal about it, especially with their R&D budget it should have been done years ago.

            I purchased the Guzzi as I’ve always heard they’re built like tanks and need very little maintenance compared to other brands… I was sick of my Harley breaking down when touring and I didn’t want to relive that part of the experience. A good friend just drove his FLH Classic from Bremerton, WA to New England with a side trip to the FL keys and half way across country the HD died when the RbW throttle stopped working. I’m sure it’s the type of failure that can happen to any bike with modern technology. So, I’m crossing my fingers that with all the tech on the Guzzi I don’t have a similar experience.

            I do have to agree with your comment about the Guzzi being ugly, the old LAPD bikes and for many years thereafter they fit that description but the new California’s are one of the best looking bikes I’ve seen in awhile. For shi##’s and giggles check out this pic… https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/32174572/02.jpg

            I won’t irritate the die hards here anymore about the Guzzi, it’s certainly good to know that Harley is making forward progress and not just incremental design tweaks. See ya on the road…

          • Sorry Dan, but your statement about the Yamaha FJR 1300 and the top box / passenger is wrong. I am on my 3rd FJR…an ’04 that I put 76K on, an ’08 that I put 88K on, and my current ’13 with 62K on it…always had my top box with my wife riding pillion..no problem.

          • Smitten by HD’s latest and greatest marketing, I didn’t hear you say anything about the Indian road master, you can say thank you cuz Indian has built a better mouse and you wouldn’t have the 107 an 114 Indian kicking the crap out HD.

          • I’m a touring rider, and Indian dealerships are about as scarse as BMW dealerships, and all I see Indian doing is copying Harley. Harley puts an infotainment center in its touring bikes, so Indian comes out with one, what’s next? twin cooling. I use to be a Harley hater too, and just like everyone else that hates therm, I never owned one. I bought the Harley because it had the amenities and the comfort I wanted in a bike I did not buy a Harley to fit into a group, in fact I wear full textile gear and a modular helmet, looking nothing like the typical Harley rider, so no, Harley did not “dazzle” or “baffle” me.

        • I’m sure the Guzzi is a fine motorcycle. The thing to really keep in mind is that Harley-Davidson motorcycles are built in the U.S.A. by hard working U.S.A. citizens for other hard working U.S.A. citizens. The same can’t be claimed for the Guzzi. I will also bet that the engine on the Guzzi has parts that are descendants of William Harley designed parts. Harley was a motorcycle engineering genius.

          • Craig,

            I have to say you make valid points; I’ve owned three Harley Davidsons and enjoyed them all.

            I have to listen to friends and co-worker complain about how I did not buy American and they bring up the same exact points you did. These are the same friends that are driving Subaru’s and Honda’s while I drive a Chevy pickup.

            Where I work the HD’s are lined up like cordwood and they all look exactly the same except for the colors, the only one that sticks out in the crowd is my Guzzi and that’s a bit of the reason why I purchased it.

            I get a kick as people walk by the row of bikes and then stop with a look of confusion when they see the Guzzi, they try to figure out exactly what they’re looking at as it looks like no other motorcycle around.

            But, the biggest reason I got the Guzzi was that for a full dressed touring rig it cost half of what a similarly equipped Harley would have cost me.

          • This is to Craig and Roberto,
            You both are right about the cost of Harleys and about buying American. I’m a retiree UAW worker and I own a 2014 Dodge Dart with a six speed transmission. The transmission is made by Hyundai. They want to keep the working men and women are each other throats so that we can’t watch them when they are doing their dirt. Harley use foreign parts in their motorcycles.
            All of Harley accessories are foreign made and overpriced.

          • Alexander you’re 100% correct with how vehicles are manufactured these days; for instance Dodge is now owned by Fiat and the Dart shares its platform design with Alfa Romeo.

            Harley’s is a big corporate entity and Moto Guzzi is a small boutique manufacturer that makes in one year what Harley makes in one week or less. So, I don’t mind supporting the little guy here and not the big publicly traded corporation. Guzzi’s are hand built at the same factory in the Alps since 1921, to me the bikes have lots of charisma and character.

            I first became interested in Guzzi’s after I found out they were used by the LAPD and the California Highway Patrol years ago instead of Harley Davidsons. If fact if you watch Magnum Force with Clint Eastwood you’ll see the V7 Police driven by the motorcycle cops.

            When I was riding a Harley if someone told me that I’d be advocating for a non American manufacturer I’d would have thought they were crazy. But Guzzi’s are a little different and a little quirky and I feel Guzzi ownership is somewhat esoteric, to me the “goose” fills a void that the mass produced machines owned by the multitudes just can’t.

          • I just looked at Roberto’s guzzi. He keeps mentioning price as the main reason for not buying a touring HD. Yes Roberto, you paid half the price but you also got half the bike.

          • Guzzis are good bikes but the nearest dealer to me is over 100 miles away. Another thing to think about before you buy. I’m with DEADEYE, I’ll stick to my “old” 2015 FLHTP Rushmore, thank you very much. It’s all the bike I ever needed and then some.

          • I’m not trying to sell Guzzi’s or bash Harley’s; what’ I’m trying to illustrate is that for the price Harley charges (almost a year’s income for some folks) you were getting decades old technology. You can insert just about any manufacturer instead of Guzzi and have a modern motorcycle for much less.

            To add insult to injury they’re talking as if what they are offering up is some sort of a technological breakthrough when what they’re doing at best is playing catch-up to everyone else…

            I know people love their bikes and will defend them to the end but if I happen to trade in the Guzzi after a few years it won’t be for a Harley Davidson, more than likely it’ll be a Victory. Indian’s are a bit too retro for my liking while Harley charges a premium price for a less than premium product as they’re slaves to corporate shareholders and wall street estimates. Those that want to continue to throw hard earned money to them I’m sure they’d be more than happy to help you part with it to make their shareholders even richer…

            Wait till their market share starts to slip even further and see how their prices come down to more realistic evaluations then maybe I’d consider owning a Harley Davidson once again…

          • Roberto; I KIND of get your point, but myself I wouldn’t pay 30 grand for
            ANY motorcycle. Yes, HD has those but all you’re getting is a lot of fluff
            I play hardball with ANY dealer, and ESPECIALLY hard with HD dealers

            In late 2014 when I bot my new one I knew HD was having trouble
            moving police units, a lot of cops have moved to BMW and they were starting to get bottled up.
            I rode a brand new FLHTP out the door for only 16000. (thats a little under 15 grand before taxes and license) No, it has no radio or two tone paint but I can
            live without them. So my new HD Electra Glide cost me no more than your Guzzi, and like it or not
            that Guzzi will not hold a resale value nearly as good as a Harley. Harleys aren’t going to quit making them, and bikers aren’t going to quit buying them either. Antique or not, they are built for how 90% of us ride. If you have time, go to a dealer and RIDE a 2014 up 103 or a new 107. You MIGHT be surprised!

          • Tom,

            I appreciate your input and comments, the last time I was in a Harley dealer they wouldn’t budge off the MSRP not one cent as there were waiting lists for people that wanted them, also I do realize that the Guzzi will not hold its value, that I understood right out the gate so i’m not planning on selling it anytime soon, in fact it’ll probably be the last bike I own unless something comes along that I just can’t pass up.

            Two of my Harley’s were shovel heads and they never failed to leave me stranded, I did buy a “Tour Glide” with the “new” Evolution engine which I think are now called “Road Glides”, if they had a lemon law at the time I would have sued as the bike was a complete piece of crap. The bike ran terribly and lost power at the worst possible moment on the highway, the bike would just shut down without warning. It also pinged or gas knocked under normal loads at highway speeds. Multiple trips to the dealer and each time they told me nothing was wrong or they couldn’t replicate the problem, very frustrating to say the least.

            Needless to say that bike didn’t last long, I sold it as soon as someone was willing to give me a decent price.

            Fast forward a number of years without a bike; I ran into some old buddies who ride so I decided I wanted to get back into the fray and do some long distance touring and the Guzzi caught my eye as they were advertising heavily, in fact it was awarded “Motorcycle of the Year” in 2014 by Motorcyclist Magazine and at left over pricing I couldn’t go wrong so that’s where I’m currently at.

            I’m far from being a Harley hater and I’m certainly not an ambassador for the Guzzi brand, it was just my opinion that for what one pays for a Harley their customers were getting a bit short changed and now they’re finally giving their customers something that they should’ve had many years ago especially for what they charge.

            I was only using the Guzzi brand as an example of a technologically advanced modern machine available at a fair price without someone having to tap into their 401k.

            Granted its not a Harley but it has its own charisma nonetheless and it never fails to draw a few gawkers who try and figure out what the heck it is.

          • I have ridden pretty much every Japanese motorcycle out there I couldn’t even touch a guzzi or BMW when I went to the dealerships they barely looked at me. When I go into the HD dealership here in Orlando they are super nice and they want to get me on a bike NO MATTER WHAT. And they did that. And you know what? I said the EXACT same HD bashing things for years but man ive never ridden any bike so stable, comfortable, and yes COOL as a my electra glide. I will admit I was fully prepared to hate it when I took the test ride but man I was impressed. I got the 2017 limited and I have loved every minute of it, and oh I got it for 20k and it had 150 miles on it. So yea the key to getting the good deal is getting there at the right time and getting the right salesperson.

        • Right you are, Roberto. Even my old ’83 Honda CX650E has 4 valve heads. It’s not groundbreaking. At best it’s “catching up”.

          (And what’s this about Showa suspension? Japanese springs on “America’s motorcycle”. Say it ain’t so! What’s next? Harley paraphernalia made in China? Oh, wait….)

          • I would like to add that while I like my Ultra there are things about Harley marketing that turns me off. I hate the fact that most of the clothing and a lot of the accessories are made in China. I will not buy their $30.00 T shirts and caps. I have a few that I received as gifts but that’s it. I think their seats are junk and that’s the first thing that goes. I feel like Harley just pulls some of their prices out of the sky and waits to see if the public will go for it. I guess it’s like anything else that’s in demand, you can see what the market will bare. I have been riding since 1974 and have owned other brands over the years but there is nothing like a Harley Davidson.

      • Actually, Trevor Deeley, the past, long-time HD distributor in Canada had a v-4 HD called the “Nova” designed and mocked-up in the 70’s. I don’t believe it was a working bike, (although I’m relying on my fast-fading memory here) but it was pretty well on its way to development when HD USA killed the project. I don’t know what happened to the bike. It might be in the Deeley Museum.

          • I don’t recall saying anything about how it looked. I was just pointing it out as a bit of an interesting sidebar. However, only in a thread discussing HD would the first response about a prototype be about its looks.

    • sound like Roberto have beef with Harley. I’m still riding my first Harley that I brought new in 2000. A 2001 Road King Classic and I plan on moving up to the front of the line. An Ultra Limited. My body is called for all of the bells and whistles. It’s now or never. Birthdays are beginning to pile up. I don’t want to look back and say I shoulda. Excuse the grammar. I don’t want the grief reaper to pile on. Over and out.

    • U mean 4 valves??? A cylinder?? I also have a 1985 fxrs-sp one of the first block heads and belt dives, had a buddy buy a 103 Street glide 6 speed, wow what a difference, I do believe HD has really improved these bikes ,but other bikes like BMW are sporting 165hp, I noticed they didn’t give any horse power figures, anyhow hell of a bike!!

  2. Harley gave its touring bikes a complete makeover in 2014, and now again in 2017. Meanwhile Honda continues to offer the GL1800 with little more than cosmetic changes since 2001. Honda gave up on its touring models, the ST1300, and the Goldwing, which is one of the reasons I now ride a Harley Ultra Limited.

    • I currently make payments on my 2nd Goldwing F6B. I thought my wife loved it, but lately she complains of knee pain. I get it. Mine are at 90 degrees or less. I think she would feel much more comfortable on a bagger with a full back seat/trunk. I’m considering the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse (found one with a tourpack), 17 HD Ultra Classic, and possibly the full Goldwing. Thing is, it would be just like riding my F6B, only heavier. They are discounting them like mad as they haven’t changed them since they came out in 2001! I found a HD dealer who does discount and Indian has $1500 trade in bonus and $1000 towards gear (and I don’t think they’re moving quickly so should be a good discount). Both the HD and Indian are $25k. The Wing is $19k without any real negotiation, but I think after 45 years I’ve learned to quit buying what I get a great deal on unless I love it. Gotta ride all three and see.

      • I have nothing against Indian, but as a long distance touring rider, Harley dealerships are everywhere, Indian dealerships are still pretty sparse. Then there’s the little things, Harley dealerships put travelers to the front of the service line, want to try out a seat, or windscreen before buying one, Harley has demo models you can take for a whole weekend without commitment. I also think the Harley models with some water cooling would be cooler than the all air cooled Indians.

        • I’ve ridden the new Harleys and they are pretty darned nice. Right now the 114ci harley motor only comes with the screaming eagle CVO Harleys. But, you can have them bump up the 110ci Harley motor to the 114ci for not too much and it is amazing how powerful that 114ci motor is. Harleys are amazing motorcycles these days.

          • Be mindful of the fact that the bigger the motor, the more heat generated. Motorcycle Consumer News actually stated that they preferred the 103 to the 110 cubic inch motor because they found the 110 too hot. Harley is supposed to have done something with the new 107 to further reduce heat. I removed the cat, put a Power Commander in, and had the bike dyno tuned, all to remove heat on my 103. Didn’t do it for louder pipes, or more power.

        • Apparently, the Ultra Classic is only oil cooled. I have no experience with air cooled bikes, but I would think you can only sit and idle so long before overheating. I can only imagine the heat they kick out! I found some take off Goldwing passenger floorboards I’m gonna try for my wife. To me, the F6B is still the best looking bagger bike. I would chose the Ultra Classic next, then the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse. I like that front end the least, but do like the rest of the bike. I also agree, there are just a handful of Indian dealerships, which isn’t a great thing service wise.

          • On my third cross country trip on an oil cooled Moto Guzzi California 1400 Touring, and by the way, it’s both oil and air cooled. I’m sure the HD’s are the same, even if they say oil cooled, air cooling is a the primary method of cooling the cylinders.

            Also, I’m never worried about having a gazillion HD dealers in every other town. If worse comes to worse I’d rent a uHaul and drive to the nearest dealer in route. I also have AAA premier with motorcycle towing included which tows up to 200 miles if needed.

            The Guzzi is Euro 4 compliant with 8 valves and two plugs per cylinder long before it was even thought of by Harley. The best part of this whole comment is that I paid about 1/3 of what a new Harley touring bike would have cost me. I bought a leftover with dealer and manufacturer rebates. The total cost was as previously stated was about 1/3 of the cost of a new HD and I cruise coast to coast, both east, west and north and south.

            As the saying goes a fool and his money are soon parted, if you don’t mind paying 25 to 30 thousand dollars for a motorcycle then by all means go right ahead if that’s what floats your boat…

          • I choked over 15k for a motorcycle!! The Moto doesnt have a comparable touring bike luggage wise for me and I dont want to deal with next to no dealers. Been there and done that, although I will say I dont ever remember having a bike issue with any of mine since 1992

          • I like the 2014+ Ultra Limited’s because they do have some water cooling, and a few other perks over the Classic. I forgot to previously mention that I also put ceramic coated stainless steel head pipes on to minimize heat output on the legs, but left the pipes stock. Overall my ST1300 was hotter, in fact I never really took to the bike for that reason alone. At least the Harley engine is out in the open, and not buried in a fairing heating up everything.

  3. It’s nice to see that H-D has arrived to the present day. Four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder in a v-twin, air-cooled, push- rod engine… sounds like the Yamaha XV1700 48 degree v-twin on my RS Warrior – circa 2002.

    All synicism aside, this IS great news for H-D’s touring family, and I can appreciate this new engine, as well as the steady improvements H-D has made to their FL line, since I want to buy a tour specific bike. However, being all of 5’6″ with my boots on, all the lowered seat heights were not really helping me feel comfortable on these big bikes due to the width of the power train. Glad to see they addressed that too.

  4. I just bought a 2017 Street Glide Special there is know words it’s not just the new engine it’s the package your getting, There’s nothing like it
    I would like to say thank you to the Staff at Lone Wolf Harley for straight forward business approach, they were honestly great full and went the extra mile my purchase PS Thank you Holly & Staff

    • You should have made the trip to the Seattle area where there are Harley dealers everywhere. I paid far less for my then new 2014 Ultra Limited than Lone Wolf, the only game in town, would do.

      • Dan, I purchased my Guzzi @ Moto International in Seattle and drove it home to New England. Seattle is quite a nice place with the Cascades just to the east. Other than a few days of rain which I suppose is quite normal the trip went flawlessly. I wish I could afford a new bike every other year just to make the same trip.

  5. Nothing here to make me run out and get a new Harley…
    Now if they could have made the cams gear driven, and made the primary gear driven, instead of chain driven, also used Timken bearings, I would go trade in my 2012 103ci in a heartbeat!

    • R Ledbetter,
      I’m sure they didn’t go cam gear driven because of the noise limitations they needed to shoot for and as for the primary being chain driven, those primary chain drives are pretty bullet proof and auto adjusted. You should go demo ride the new bikes, they are really nice and very powerful.

  6. I bought a 2015 Electra Glide Police Unit NEW in Nov 2014 and love it.
    It has abs linked braking and an oil cooler. I dont like trunks, and the standard
    Electra is no longer available so this works nicely for me. I can ride all day long and not a BIT of
    “throttle vibration”. I liked the street glide as well but mine has the spotlights, which on the cop bike you can turn off and on and flash at will by a button which now days is VERY useful. If I buy a SG in future it’ll cost me another $500 before it leaves the dealer for the passing spots. They are a “must have” IMO. I also put an ultra low seat on mine and it is very comfy! The new 107s are probably better, but I feel no real need to upgrade just yet.
    And yes, it has a “soul”. I’m happy with my cop bike.

      • I also can’t do without the tourpak. Side bags are fine for trips but the tourpak is always where I store things when I leave the bike outside a store or wherever. No tolls here in Nebraska but I can see where tolls would be just another money grab and I’d sure would love to screw them out of their tolls if I could get away with it.

        • The tourpak is much easier to store things in, and you can also use a cargo net to carry things on the rack, or even strap another bag to the rack. And I’m still loving the toll free riding. I don’t know if even red light or speeding cameras could get you, that plate is really tucked back high underneath the tourpak.

  7. I currently own a 2010 Ultra Classic that I purchased new. It took me several years to get it just the way I wanted. I actually addressed some of the same problems that Harley has since been addressing. I haven’t had a chance to ride a 2017 yet but I did speak with a new owner. He said it is nice but a little to much like a Gold Wing at idle. I for one like the shake on the older models and find it addictive. He said the bike has good power but is to quiet. He is waiting for the aftermarket companies to release new exhaust for the 17’s. I will probably test ride a 17 but have no intention of trading for several more years. I’m hoping the new engine makes it to the Soft-tail line as a Heritage Classic may be my next bike.

    • Chuck; I too like the “shake” at idle, if a new owner thinks they are too much like a GW at idle I may count myself out. Harley make a massive leap with the 2014 Up Rushmore bikes. Not having ridden a 2017 yet but just from reading it sounds like my late model 103 has most of what I am wanting AND the shake as well! I put some RUSH “slash up” slip ons on mine and it skakes AND sounds good. I’ll still ride one, but again I really like my ’15 unit, and it’ll probably stay with me a few more years

  8. I own a Yamaha FJR for fast riding and Sport-Touring, but the love of my life, other than my wife, is my 2009 Harley Low Rider. It is Orange on black, has gobs of chrome everywhere and custom wheels. It doesn’t have ABS, power settings, cruise control, traction control (my Yam has all of that) or even a fairing. What it has is pure beauty/styling and attitude. It is the best looking damned motorcycle I have ever owned by a long shot and when I sit on it in an intersection and feel that engine thumping under me it is a feeling that I just can’t put into words. It absolutely purrs going down the road, without and the sound from the custom exhausts is sexy as hell, I can’t get enough of it. When I take it to work all the women want a ride on it. Nobody ever want to ride on my Yamaha and I’m sorry, my opinion, but the ugliest bikes I have ever seen are MotoGuzzi’s. BTW, I’ve owned my Harley since 2009 and have never broken down on it or needed anything other than routine maintenance. Don’t soup up the motor and they work great and are absolutely dependable.

    • Phil, You obviously haven’t seen the new Guzzi’s, or you have an extremely skewed perception of beauty but I digress.

      My only point regarding all the bells and whistles that come standard on the Guzzi was to illustrate what Harley does NOT offer at the price point. Essentially you’re getting a legacy product for 20 plus grand. But, as another reader commented earlier in the thread that he doesn’t care what he pays as long as he gets his nice infotainment system as unplugging a accessory GPS was bothersome.

      I know the die hards will say all you need is a seat and an engine but years ago disk brakes and electronic ignitions were considered extravagant, in this day and age they’re both considered essential items on a modern bike.

      Harley’s has huge sale numbers and a huge R&D budget compared to other smaller manufactures so there’s no excuse for shortchanging their customers with incremental upgrades at best. If you want options like ABS, Traction Control or a Security System they’re rather expensive add-ons adding to the already bloated price tag.

      As previously mentioned I do not hate HD as I’ve owned 3 of them, and I’ll certainly lend aid and assistance when I run into one on the side of the road as I recently did while crossing Death Valley… To be fair it was an easy fix with a set of tools, that’s one thing I learned when I owned my Harley was to never travel without a well equipped tool kit.

      • Why don’t you drop putting words in my mouth. Where did I say I don’t care what I pay as long as it has integrated GPS? I also mentioned the spacious luggage because I actually tour on my motorcycles, and I also mentioned the fact that the Ultra is comfortable for those of us over 6′. Yes, as a touring rider I don’t want to strap bags and accessories on my bike day after day, it would slow me down, and it leaves them vulnerable to theft. Also as a touring rider, Harley puts travelers to the front of the service line if service is needed on the road,. And as I mentioned before, Harley lets riders try out seats and windshields before buying. Name One other manufacturer that pays that much attention to their buyers.

        • Dan,

          Sounds like you’re getting a little testy; did you not say that one of the reasons you like the HD is that you don’t have to disconnect an add on GPS from the bike, so I don’t feel as if I was putting words into your mouth… If that’s something that adds value and convenience for you, then so be it.

          The GPS is the only item I take off my bike and it quickly disconnects in a few seconds so, no big deal there, everything else locks up tight and the accessory top box although secure is removable and can be carried like a suitcase for convenience.

          Also, glad to know that Harley lets you try out a windshield, usually all one needs to do is sit on a bike and determine where it sits relevant to one’s line of sight to know if it’s the right one or not. Also, I’m pretty sure if you ask any bike dealer of any brand whether you can swap out a windscreen that’s not quite right they would agree if other sizes were available. Just mention it before you sign on the dotted line…

          I do suppose if you’re a new rider it might take a while to determine what’s right, so maybe that’s not a bad thing. As far as the seat goes, I feel it would take a significant amount of time in a saddle to make a determination on that one. On some trips I feel like my seat is spectacularly comfortable and other days I’m wondering if there are better options out there. It’s pretty much an accepted fact that most OEM seats are not of the best quality, even BMW owners complain about their seats.

          As far as emergencies on the road; other than flat tires I had one significant event on my Harley that required dealer assistance, and that one time the HD dealer in Lewiston, ME certainly didn’t make me feel like I was a priority. They did a half-baked repair just good enough to get me back on the road.

          A week later I needed to take the head back off and have the same repair redone adding to the overall cost of the repair. Yes, it got me home but I certainly didn’t feel like any special consideration was given, in fact, I got the impression it was somewhat of a bother. I should also mention that I took the bike apart and did all the labor at a campsite, so it was not a time consuming job for them. I just needed them to put in a new valve, and reseat, it ended up taking them 3 days to get that back to me, and with the additional day putting things back together it pretty much took up a whole week of travel time.

          Unfortunately my experience with Harley dealers has been overwhelmingly negative, granted it was 20 years ago but I never forgot the brushoff I received after purchase. I’m sure that Harley isn’t alone in that aspect of purchasing a bike but it was enough to make me look elsewhere.

          In contrast I just called the local Guzzi dealer today to schedule a warranty service and they told me that they’re booked up right through to the end of next month. When I informed them I’m planning a trip to the Carolina’s & FL on the 10th they moved me right to the front of the line, it’s going in on Monday for new tires and servicing, not sure if HD would have done the same, maybe, or maybe not.

          • Your comment insinuated that the only reason I bought the Ultra was for the infotainment center, at least that’s the way it read to me. There are all kinds of windshields, one most assuredly cannot tell how a windshield is going to work just sitting on a motorcycle. I’ve have taken Harley’s demo seats for a 24 hour period ,which is plenty of time too see if you like a seat or not.

      • I’m on my fourth H-D, a 2015 Road King. My first was an AMF Sportster, nothing but trouble. The rest have all be great. Other than personalization, the only change to the RK has been to replace the stock seat with one from an Ultra. The stock seat just kept sliding me to the tank and making my butt ache. One of the things I enjoy about the Hog is the vibration at a stop. It’s just part of a Harley. I have looked at other bikes and owned seven others of Japanese mfr., but there is just something about the Harley-Davidson. I do agree, however, that the H-D marque accessories and clothing are a bit high. In the end it doesn’t matter what you ride, only that you enjoy it.

      • Roberto, you keep mentioning price. I looked at the pic of your bike. It does not compare to the beauty of a touring harley or any other harley. You paid half the price and you got half the bike. You bought what you could afford, end of story. I’ve ridden my Harley’s across the country and have never broken down. 68,357 miles presently on my 09 ultra classic. I will ride my bike anywhere you ride yours.

        • Phil,

          Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, If you base value on what you see or perceive then you’re right, Harley’s do seem to have a more robust equipment package at first glance. But, things Guzzi offers such Traction Control, ABS, Cruise Control are not standard on all Harley models. Also, the Guzzi has the 8 valve and 4 spark plug configuration and that’s the basis for my original posting.

          Harley is a giant in the industry and sells more bikes in one week than Guzzi sells in a year. Their R&D budget must be more than the whole corporate wealth of Guzzi therefore, with a budget like that Harley should be on the cutting edge of performance and development not lagging decades behind. It’s my assertion that Harley has done a disservice to its customers by not providing a modern engine design years ago, just look at the product offerings of Victory and Indian.

          I do not hate Harley Davidson as I’ve owned 3, but for what you pay upwards to the 30 thousand dollar range they should not be playing catchup with small companies like Guzzi and then making a big deal out of coming out of the stone age…

          Last but not least, I don’t feel as if I got half the bike and I can certainly afford a Harley, money was not my main motivator for my purchase. I was looking for something unique, a little different; IMHO Harley has become homogenized, when I’m out I see rows of exactly the same bike, the only difference might be the color or a set of handlebars. It’s as if everyone is wearing the same shirt or sporting the same haircut, if you’re in the military that’s fine but when you’re enjoying your passion it’s a bit disconcerting.

          Some people think out of the box or dare to be a little different than the masses, unfortunately that might not be you…

          • Nicely put, Roberto. To call a Guzzi “half a bike” is simply daft.

            Today there are so many fabulous bikes available from so many different manufacturers that the notion of limiting one’s bike purchase to a single brand is almost incomprehensible.

          • I think Phil’s comment is being misconstrued. As the current owner of both a 2015 Guzzi & a 2015 Harley Street Glide, the Guzzi was $5,500 less but the quality of the Harley’s materials is much better. Better switch gear, better bars/grips/levers, better instruments, better paint, better chrome, better materials everywhere looked. The Guzzi has a clattery sounding engine with an annoying amount of tappet noise and the bike has a lot of plastic parts. Modern fuel-injected Guzzis will not take throttle until a minimum of 5 minutes warmup; annoying on cold startup. Guzzis have charm, they’re cool, but the Harley is definitely a better bike. I like them both but if I had to choose only one it would be the Harley. In fact, for the same money I’d buy a used Harley over a new Guzzi.

          • Dave,

            Not sure what Guzzi you’re riding but my bike shares in none of the characteristics or flaws you mentioned in your post.

            The engine on my bike is not “clattery” as you say, not even close, the chrome is deep and lustrous with no tarnishing or blemishes anywhere I look. The handlebars are ergonomically perfect for my size and they shine nicely, I see no sub par product there either. The handlebar controls and bar ends are in my opinion are second to none in quality and the controls are laid out in an intuitive fashion, no manual required to use the controls.

            In May I rode across the US with temps down into the 30’s and 40’s in the Sierra’s and over a 100 degrees in Death Valley and the bike performed magnificently. I did warm the bike up but no more or less than any other bike including my Harley’s and it ran perfect, I felt no vibration or excess heat at any speed or rpm, but I must admit, it does shake rattle and roll at idle but once you put it into gear and start rolling it’s uncannily smooth.

            I do agree with you about having plastic parts as the fenders are made of plastic, I would have much rather preferred metal fenders so no argument there but the rest of the bike appears to be made of premium materials. My only other gripe was the American made Dunlop tires that wore out at 6000 miles.

            Most everything you’ve mention is subjective and open to one’s own interpretations, is the bike perfect absolutely NOT. But it seems to suit my needs perfectly, in fact I’m off to the Blue Ride and Deal’s Gap this weekend, a nice languorous ride from Providence, RI.

            At $11,900 in my opinion it was an outstanding value for the money; In fact at that price I could probably buy 2 if not 3 Guzzi’s for the price of one comparably equipped Harley Davidson…

            My main gripe with Harley is not really about the bikes, if people want them and are willing to pay then so be it. My concern was that they charge a boat load of money for an legacy product, the new Milwaukee Eight is a big leap forward that brings them in line with other manufacturers which more than likely was done to meet the new Euro 4 standards and not because they thought their US customers deserved a modern engine, they’re more worried about losing market share overseas than anything else…

          • Roberto, my Guzzi is a Stelvio. The gas tank and front fender are plastic, the mirrors (also plastic) have built-in turn signals that will not tighten adequately to hold their adjustment. The levers were junk. I have adjusted my valve lash repeatedly and the engine still sounds like a thrashing machine. The dealer (125 miles away) told me that all of the 1200 FI Guzzis need a warm-up before they’ll take throttle. The Stelvio’s suspension is magnificent; best I have ever experienced and even more plush than my 2016 BMW R1200GS-Adventure with its electronic suspension control. The Stelvio cost me $15,500, Street Glide Special $21,500, R1200GS-A $23,500; and I think you get what you pay for. My favorite is the Street Glide; it is a relaxed slow-revving comfy cruiser for an over 50 year old couple but I like the Guzzi too (and the BMW). Guzzis are great bikes, lots of charm, and a lot of bike for the money; my old 850 Eldorado never missed a beat in 60,000 miles and then sold for more than when it was new. Enjoy your Guzzi; it’s way cooler than the usual stuff from the orient.

  9. I have been riding for 53 years. Have worked in 2 HD shops and have ridden many HD’s. Great bikes. I have my 6th Guzzi since 1982. I choose Guzzi because that’s what I enjoy riding. Ride what you like and enjoy. Ride SAFE.

    • Dick Rome, that was about the damn best reply I have read on this thread. Ride what you enjoy and ride safe. I am on my 4th Harley, a 2017 CVO Street Glide with the new 114 motor. I could have bought two cars with what I paid for it, but the bike is awesome and I am going to enjoy the hell out of it.

      If you like your bike, great, I am happy for you, enjoy it. If I overpaid for my Harley, who cares, it is what I enjoy and that was my prerogative.

      In California we greet each other when passing on a motorcycle with two fingers, a sideways peace sign. We do that regardless of what type of motorcycle you are riding because it kind of means “We know.” We know how liberating and free we feel when riding our motorcycle and nobody besides another rider can understand that. So as Dick Rome said, “Ride what you like and enjoy. Ride SAFE.”

  10. I love it how all the geeks diss Harley for being old tech, not knowing or caring about the continuous advances they make that are unseen. And when something new makes headlines, the geeks come out of the wood-work like cockroaches to slam anything Harley does.

    Geeks love their bikes and feel they have to justify their decision to buy it by slamming everyone else. Give us a break and ride your toys into oblivion. I’ll ride my Harley for 25 untroubled years like they were designed for, while you’re on your 4th new toy. My 2008 StreetGlide has 178,000 trouble-free miles and is still my first choice to ride, even though I have a much newer Bonneville that “looks nice” when I have to go to the Post Office.

    Moto Guzzi has never made anything significant–technological or styling–all were ugly. And life is too short to own something so ugly and blah. Happy you love yours so much. Your comparisons between the two are so far off Roberto, they make you sound goofy. There are millions of Harleys on the road for reasons that you don’t seem to understand. Lost in translation comes to mind.

  11. Sorry to sound so sour on Roberto. But the truth of the matter is that many import riders love to hate Harleys for mostly invalid reasons: too slow, too heavy, too much chrome, too much money, too much envy, too much everything. They are NOT sport bikes, and they are not Euro-tourers for good reasons. They fit our country and our roads and most of our lifestyles. They’re slow (comparatively), heavy (not so much anymore), flashy (So?). But more importantly they are durable, reliable, very comfortable, and cheap to own over the long run. THAT is why there are millions of them on OUR roads.

    • Well, I got my nose ass deep into a new 107 today.
      First, it is NOT that quiet at idle. Yes, a little less vibration
      but it is DEFINITELYALL HOG. Motor IS quieter but it “barks” a bit louder than a stock 103.
      It has torque out the ying yang I straddled it and felt like I had been riding it forever…which is exactly what HD wanted to achieve…and DID.

      Will I trade my like new 103 Police unit on it? Probably not right now as I said before there is not enough reason to, what I’ll do is wait until late Dec or Jan and see if any quirks develop and also a better time to make a deal…if I get them to agree to a deal I can’t refuse…yes…but I’m not payin MSRP + fees then taking wholesale for my trade…it’s gonna have to be a doorbuster for me to sign.

      SO…final word on it is YES…IMO HD succeded in their goal. It’s a new HD which looks sounds and most importantly FEELS like an HD.

      And as Jonny says, it’s made for OUR roads and that’s why we ride em!

  12. Been riding since 1958. Have my 30th motorcycle in the garage. For all of you kids, riding a motorcycle wasn’t cool back then. It was invitation to being harassed, could cost you a promotion at work. All of these comments about Harleys and other brands are counterproductive. Just be glad the climate today allows you to ride and a lot of the signs say “bikers welcome”. I have been lucky enough to ride all over the USA and have done it on SJMs and Harleys. Never had a bad trip on any. Some were fast, some were quick and somewere very painful after a a 1000 mile day. Am a lifetime member of MRCA and we have met all over the US to see each other and ride together. Don’t remember anyone ever caring what kind of bike you rode-just ride. Rode a 2017 Ultra Classic LTD and was blown away on just how much better it was. Decided it would make the perfect 70th birthday gift(for my wife of course-she needs a new backseat to ride on). Earned my IBA membership on a Harley and believe that my wife’s future LTD would be a perfect bike to get my 48+ on. Remember-just ride what you got but ride.

    • Amos; Hard to beat those big STAR engines. I have a Royal Star as well that
      I will never live long enough to wear out! Damn things have absolutely no resale value tho
      which is why I’ll keep mine forever

    • Finally retired my 1983 Honda CX650E with a hockey sock full of miles on it. Like you, no break downs. Just fluids, brake pads, tires, 2 batteries and fork seals (once).

    • I rode a 1999 Royal Star Venture for 14 years never let me down, was quite happy never wanted to spend the money it took to get a HD. But I did recently replace it with 2013 Ultra Limited which was lowered, for me it was the best thing I could do. Went from tippy toeing turn a rounds to just riding through the U turns it is a great bike. With a 30 inch inseam the tall Venture got to be too much. This will allow me to keep riding two wheels longer versus looking into trikes. The only unfortunate thing is I could get it because a good friend had to stop riding due to cancer. Any two wheel ride is great though!

  13. I currently own a 2015 Moto Guzzi Stelvio and a 2016 H-D Street Glide Special and although both are fine, they are very different bikes. The Moto Guzzi is a steal at $15,500 and the Harley is fairly priced at $23,000. The Harley torques lazily down the road with the relaxing beat of an old Farmall while the Guzzi feels busy and clatters away at twice the RPM. The Guzzi’s suspension is much better, the Harley is better built and feels ore substantial. Both are fast enough but neither is a rocket; those come from Japan. The Harley has more character, more soul; and although I like them both, the Harley is a more satisfying motorcycle. The new Milwaukee Eight may be natural progression but I’d rather just do a Stage II cam change on my 103 TwinCam (along with the usual pipes, aircleaner & ECU) and have even more power & torque. Now if only Harley could make a suspension that rivals Ohlins…

  14. Harley sure missed an opportunity. They could have offered 100%, 75%,%50% ,25% and 0% vibration for an nice extra charge. They could have called it vibrating eagle.

    • I have a 2006 Roadliner 113 and looking at it harley could have used it as a drawing board for their new motor. The resemblance is uncanny the heads even look quite a bit alike. The 107 has too many of the 113 ‘Liners features, makes me wonder, at any rate I’ll keep the Liner it’s got the torque factor down, too bad it’s a yamaha which translates to practically worthless resale value, but a fine machine nonetheless

  15. Its interesting that with all of the new 2017 Harleys supposedly sold with the 107 engine there no actual rider reviews. As one commenter stated, they were waiting until December or January. I will do a minimum of the same. The reason I am waiting is because I contacted Harley Davidson Corporate office and spoke with a technical representative. I asked the representative how long the 107 motor, drive train and bike had been field tested. He gave me a wise crack answer of “That’s Confidential Information” I said really, I am not asking you for trade secrets. I said thank you for answering my question, that tells me the bikes not what Harley hyped it up to be. Will I buy, owner reviews will tell, if I can ever find them on the internet.

  16. I rode and wrenched on Guzzi’s in the 70’s and 80’s until Guzzi pulled the plug on US sales. I had an 850T that handled better that the majority of the Metric bikes I repaired or rode. I was so disappointed in AMF as they sucked the assets out of Harley Davidson in the 70’s. Harley really fell behind and it took a while to catch up. Working on those AMF bikes sucked. The Evolution motor really helped boost the reliability and sales. When I decided to move to a cruiser bike from my Ducati Multistrada 1200s, I tried various Japanese cruisers and Victory’s but I was not feeling the connection I liked between me and the bike. So after some Harley customer feedback, I took them all for a ride. I ended up with a Fatboy. This bike works the best for me and I really like this bike a lot. I have the equivalent of a Stage -3 Pro engine kit installed and lots of other individualized parts I have added to make the bike mine. Once I saw that Piaggio had bought Guzzi and heard they were going to return to the US market I was excited. Guzzi’s are currently not selling too many bikes here in the US. They have really dropped their price to get them out in the public making them a good value. But…Magnetti Marelli can make you sweat when a light comes on and you will need a Magnetti Marelli scan tool to clear and lights, codes or service indicators. Also there are intangibles in touring (Flat tire, accidents, dropping your bike) that have nothing to do with what you ride. With that there are more Harley dealerships across the USA than any other bike manufacturer should you need assistance and they will prioritize helping you. Harley has some bikes for those looking beyond their traditional bike lines. The Street 500, Street 750 and V-Rod. They don’t sell to well and that says a lot. I ride between 5 and 8 thousand miles between snowflake season. The Harley Fatboy fits my needs better than any other bike at this time. It’s really about riding now isn’t it?

    • Harley would likely have gone the way of Indian had it not been for Reagan’s imposition of import tariffs on bikes over 700 cc’s during his presidency.

      • Harley’s demise was not due to the Japanese bikes; it was due to the terrible reliability and poor build quality of the AMF years. Even after the Japanese tariff, Harley literally did go under except that at the 11th hour, the employees & Willie G bought the company out of receivership. The 1984 Blockhead Evolution powered bikes resulted and the rest is history. My brother-in-laws 1980 shovelhead FLH wouldn’t make it to the city limits without parts falling off or a mechanical issue; my 1985 evo FLH went 84,000 miles and never missed a beat. Harley now builds one helluva motorcycle.

        • Yes. Harley was building unreliable crap. Japan was building reliable, high quality bikes. Without the tariffs Harley, under any leadership, would have tanked. It’s called protectionism.

          • Your point is well taken Alex but in the late ’70s & early ’80s, Japan did not build a similar bike to Harley. No V-twin luxury tourers, no V-twin cruisers. Harley sold bikes because they literally had the market cornered. Nothing from Japan sounded or looked like a Harley. The average Harley buyer in the early ’80s wouldn’t be caught dead on a Gold Wing or 4-cylinder UJM. However by the end of the AMF years, Harley’s quality control issues killed off even the diehard buyers. Protectionism may have had some benefit but it was really the riddance of AMF and the introduction of the Evolution powered Harleys that kept them afloat and made them prosperous again.

          • Your dates are a little off. The tariff was established in 1983 (’til 85). The Japanese responded by reducing engine capacities on 750’s to 700 cc’s (for US bound bike). An interesting psychological barrier for those of us riding at the time. Besides exporting fewer large capacity bikes to the US, those manufacturers also drew in their horns a bit WRT introducing new models waiting to see what the future held in the American market.

            It’s also important to remember that HD went cap in hand to the government to request this kind of protectionism. Clearly, they felt it was important to their survival.

            Fortunately, the only bike I bought in the late 70’s was a ’76 Kawasaki 900 – after deciding against a Sportster.

          • Thank God that Harley came out with the Evo engine in 1984, eh Alex? By 1985 the word was out what a wonderful bike Harleys had become. However, I don’t think the Japanese had a direct competitor for Harley back then; you being the exception for considering both. Most Sportster riders were not interested in 4-cylinder UJMs. I traded my Norton for a Sportster in ’76 and wouldn’t have taken a Jap bike if it was a gift. Back then, we experienced manly men rode either Harley, vintage Indian, or Brit bikes and looked down on guys with Jap bikes. The clubs here in the midwest made Jap riders ride behind us on a run and they could not become members of our clubs (and we weren’t 1%s). The industry and attitudes have come a long way in the past thirty years. BTW, I like ’em all now. They are all different, all neat, and we are all brothers (& sisters) out in the wind.

  17. Wow, HD has really gone and dazzled ya with brilliance an has baffled you with BS. What’s HD’s technology is going to be next, Indoor plumbing or better yet a Man on the Moon. I am going to stick with my 2015 Indian Road master, got lot more bike for a lot less $$. In which I should say, If it wasn’t for bikes like my Indian, HD would of been still screwing around with that 103, and as a matter a fact, why didn’t HD Diversify the V-Rod instead o being discontinued, I would have loved to see that motor in a Touring frame or even a frame like the Heritage but with the same wheel base leg room as Indian’s Vintage model.

    • Can’t say for sure about the discontinued V-Rod but it has been around for many, many years and is really in need of an update. Harley is known for taking bikes out of the lineup for short periods while they redesign and then reintroduce. Maybe Harley will bring back a V-Rod with an updated engine and frame and maybe finally a V-rod bagger. I’ve seen some nice home made V-Rod baggers now and then.

    • Indians are nice bikes but so are Harleys and hating on Harleys is pretty blind in my opinion. Your Indian wouldn’t even have been resurrected except for Harley selling so many bikes. Do you for one second believe that Polaris would have put all that engineering effort into badging bikes with the Indian name had it not been for Harley. Quit pissing on Harley and thank them for your Indian even being made. Now that is the truth.

        • “Harley haters”? You mean people who ride what they like and can afford? People who can look at bikes somewhat objectively and are not afraid to voice their opinion if they find the “motor company’s” products lacking?

          Danny boy, just because we do not agree with your choice of ride doesn’t mean we hate you – or HD.

          • Do you have a problem with reading comprehension? The comment addressed Harley haters, not those who ride other bikes, but maybe that’s too complex for you to grasp, Alexis.

          • My comprehension is better than fine.

            I was questioning – albeit perhaps a little too subtly for you to comprehend – what, in your estimation constitutes a “harley-hater”.

          • I thought my comment was pretty clear. There are those who spout off about their hatred of Harley that have never even been on one. I know because I used to be one of them. I now realize that for touring, the kind of riding I do, the Glides are tough to beat.

          • No Alex, there are DEFINITELY Harley-Haters. Usually riding a Harley look-alike or rice rocket but usually less expensive than Milwaukee’s finest and they are compelled to convince others that their bike is just as good or better. Most have never owned a Harley but are convinced of their expertise. Go to any mixed brand bike night to see these garden variety know-nothings. A few years back they were routinely knocked on their ss when they insulted the wrong guy’s ride but times have changed; now there’s too many lawyers buzzing around and the biker community has also become softer & gentler. I personally like all bikes, respect anyone who rides and enjoys being in the wind, and think there’s room for all of us in the same tent. As a recent owner of a ’29 Indian 4 and a ’49 Chief I especially respect those that ride in from a distance on vintage iron from the ’50s & earlier that can keep them reliably on the road (especially after dark).

          • I am sure that you know what a Harley hater is Alex and seriously doubt that you need an explanation; I hope you enjoy whatever it is you’re riding even if it’s a little pink Honda motor scooter.

          • Frankly, I haven’t run into much marque loyalty for a long time. And I guess I never understood it. Still don’t.

            I’ve owned and ridden a lot of brands in my 40+ years of riding. I know people that own all kinds of brands including HD’s. I can’t think of one of them that dis other people’s bike choices. Perhaps I just hang out with mature people.

            And to answer your pink scooter question. I currently ride a DL1000 VStrom (with plans to ride to Inuvik, NWT next summer), have recently retired my ’83 Honda CX650E and have an XS650 Yamaha “project bike” in my shed.

          • I have a 2015 HD but I also own others…I ride what I LIKE not what brand it is.
            I also ride a Suzuki Burgman 650 Executive and it is one of my favorite bikes!

          • Dan, a Burgman?? That’s too funny. I bought a new Burgman 650 Executive for motorhome duty and find myself often hopping on it instead of the Harley! It’ll hold a case of beer under the seat (out of the box) and still have room for the steaks, hamburger buns, & Fritos. Rode it on the Tail of the Dragon and kept up with a group of sportbikes. Had it to 110 mph once on a dare. A friend rides his from Ohio to Florida every summer for vacation. Anyone that looks down on scooters needs to ride one of these things; they’re amazing.

          • Yup, a true multipurpose machine. Ride it anywhere, tho I wouldn’t actually call it a “scooter”
            We’re not the only Harley guys that ride em, either. All it takes is one good ride and they’re hooked.
            I let a buddy ride mine for an afternoon and all he could say was “Damn”

          • Bet your buddy wore a full face helmet so as not to be recognized. I’d like to try one of those things myself.

          • My buddy wouldn’t wear a full face helmet…period LOL
            All I’ll say is dont knock it till you’ve tried it.
            If you do be prepared to buy one….the 650 hauls balls and will cruise at 100 MPH if you so desire
            It will keep up with about anything and actually outRUN a few…check it out for yourself

            Hell I aint shy…I’ve taken mine on runs with my HD buds!

          • Tom, I don’t think I’d get rid of my Burgman for anything. I wish it had cruise control but we installed a Corbin seat and have done several 300 mile days two-up and looked forward to riding it again the next day. I usually keep it around 70 on the highway and 50 on the state routes and it never misses a beat; one helluva machine. Even the stock suspension is surprisingly good (better than the one on the Harley!). My brother’s a diehard Harley guy; rode with a 1% club a few years back (the Chosen Few), and even he likes riding it when nobody’s looking (LOL). The only way I’d sell mine is if they make a bigger one.

          • Dave; Are you looking for more more power or more room? If the former, how about a Yosh exhaust and a Power Commander?

          • Alex, I had a Power Commander on a FJ1300 Yamaha a couple of years ago and didn’t notice much difference in anything; but the exhaust… I like ’em quiet. I’d like a bigger Burgman with more room & cruise control; more power would be okay but not mandatory. Regarding exhaust noise; there’s nothing worse than doing 4-6 hours with mama on the back & a loud exhaust droning away. Right now I’ve been trying to get my Street Glide mufflers just right. Installed S&S headers without cats (along with a Cyclerama 575 cam, Screaming Eagle computer, free-flow air cleaner, and after 5 different pairs of new mufflers ((over $2500 worth & all too loud), I am custom making my own. Even the stock mufflers are too loud without the cats. So… I bought a pair of 4″ CVO mufflers, Full-Sac 1.5″ cores (& wrapped the baffles in fiberglass), and am screwing around with an adjustable Snuff-or-Not exhaust blank-off/suppressor. BTW, I’ve used SmartPartz in the past but do not like how they sound.

          • A Power Commander requires a dynotune for optimum performance. Getting rid of the catalytic converter also makes quite a difference, if you live in a state that doesn’t do emissions testing.

          • Met a native in Tennessee who rode a Burgman 650 that was running on the Darkside rear tire wise. He cleaned most everybody’s clock on the Dragon.

            They are just plain impressive,

          • Dan, You sound like you have the classic bully mentality; be courteous to others always, even if it hurts, people will think better of you for it but, I’m sure you’ll retort with the classic ” I don’t care what people think link”…

          • Roberto;

            Unfortunately, the anonymity afforded by the internet tends to encourage people to “vent their spleen” rather than engage in decent conversation.

            Keep going high, my friend.

  18. Well, this has been an entertaining and at least somewhat informative article, with spirited and diverse rebuttal, speculation and affronting… always sure to please! Meanwhile, having ridden and/or owned many bikes since the late ’60’s, including H-D, I found myself in somewhat of a quandary after deciding to purchase a new ride, spring of 2015…. ended up looking at many brands and models mentioned in these reader commentaries (including the Moto Guzzi, having owned a now-classic early ’70’s Eldorado), but finally decided upon one NOT mentioned yet, herein. Now already w/over 15,000 miles, I’ve found many of the attributes given for many different the other machines mentioned, including H-D (which I still believe to be one of the better fitted and finished bikes on the market, today, particularly aesthetically speaking) in this new machine… a Triumph Rocket III Touring. A classic, 900#, monstrously torqued and HP’d, all steel (excepting bags and ‘shield) “man’s” cruiser/tourer. Not necessarily “perfect” in every way (no such thing… except maybe the engine size, at 140 ci’s… LOL) , but “pretty darn good” at a lot, thus far. And, knowing that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, I”ll have to say it’s a LOT better looking than the Rocket Roadster, to my eye, though the newest Roadster has it’s own “brutal” but different sort of beauty.

    At any rate, I’m with several of the others, here, who have more-or-less said, “Ride and enjoy whatever you DO have”… I’ve seen and experienced a lot of sobering and frankly saddening (understatement) things, especially as of late, and I’m appreciative to have ANY sort of motorcycle to enjoy, as well as a decent place to lay my head after having had a decent something to eat. “Everything is relative”… and the next time you pass that fellow on the moped, rather than trying to act like you don’t know him, throw up a couple of fingers to recognize that you’re both sharing the same wind.

    • What drew you to the Triumph? I was intimidated by its mass, and wondered about the range of the bike being limited by fuel consumption. How’s the maneuverability at slow speeds?

  19. For me, at least in part, is the classic homage paid to the iconic American cruiser styling which so many of us enjoy, yet uniquely presented by today’s standards in its massive version of another classic idea which is only otherwise seen in some earlier ’30’s and ’40’s versions of bikes, now mostly relegated to museums and coveted by collectors: the inline multi-cylindered motorcycle engine, which in that time was considered a seriously advanced, higher-end (and higher cost) motor. And, this overall presentation certainly separates the big Trumpet from everything else out there, today, while having little in common, power and torque-wise, with the originals. (This engine produces over 150 ft. lbs. of torque). But perhaps as much as all that, there was a personal thing I enjoy about the Triumph (and BSA, too) badges, as they are an important part of my – and many others’ – earliest motorcycle dreams and later actual experiences, realized. So, here we have the badge, the lore (Triumph is an even older company than H-D, by almost 20 yrs) and everything, wrapped in a massive and masculine package which even impresses my H-D riding buddies and others. Yet the bike is still civil to “putt” around on or for light touring two-up (“light touring”, not because of engine power or frame size, obviously, but because the bike doesn’t come with massive fairings, pockets and travel trunks, etc., though there are aftermarket trunks available). I wanted a bagger that was still a cruiser, and this is exactly what you get with the R3T. The mass took a little getting used to (this bike weighs as much as the most fully outfitted H-D one can buy, yet it does so with but a fraction of all the gear bolted on/wired up on the H-D, which is why it’s still an honest “cruiser”), but the weight is still kept fairly low, aiding in handling. Low speed maneuverability is at least on par with the H-D tourers, by my estimation. Fuel consumption(“combined”) runs between 35 and 39 for me, and I don’t dog the throttle much. They claim about 42 or 43 mpg at 75mph, open road, which is probably close to correct, but as we know there are tons of variables to be factored in with a bike. I do notice the difference if I inject a lot of “riding around/through town” mileage into the mix, but that’s true for any big machine in my experience. As far as handling, the biggest improvement to the machine was made when I had them pull the OE Metzeler Marathon tires off and replace them with B’stone’s “Exedra Max” tires…. producing a seemingly “near 100%” improvement in low and high speed handling, as well as an anticipated longer tire life. I will never buy a set of Metzeler’s, after what I experienced with them… and they’re a premium brand w/commensurate pricing. I’d even rather have Dunlops than the OE Metz’s, from my experiences with both over the years. In summary, I love and enjoy my R3T, and even the interest shown in it by others, regardless of venue.

  20. Re: Harley Davidson (HD)

    You may wish to know that HD recently established a legal entity in Rayong, Thailand and purchased a large plot of land. HD’s intention is to build a factory that will produce up to 100,000 motorbikes a year when fully operational. In fact, construction has already commenced. This project is deemed confidential within the company as HD expects strong reaction from the US unions when this is finally announced.

    HD’s objective is to build products within the ASEAN region and thus avoid the high customs duties and tariffs levied by many member countries. All types of motorbikes will be built at this factory. Thus, the production at its US factories will need to be scaled back. This is particularly true as HD’s unit sales have continued to decline.

    We would suggest you confirm these facts with HD management and then evaluate the impact on its future bike prices and regional operations. Why buy a bike now when the price will come down in around a year?

    • Sounds like a smart thing to do if this is not just a fake news source you are quoting about the legal entity in Thailand. I really do not see how this will bring the price of a Harley down here stateside. It will bring the price down in Asia for sure and that will help Harley be competitive in that part of the world. It will still cost as much to build a Harley here whether or not they build in Thailand. You will never see a made in Thailand emboss on a stateside Harley unless a serviceman has one shipped back after buying one overseas.

      • Triumph currently assembles bikes in Thailand and ships them all over the world; obviously the cost of shipping is much less than the cost of unionized labor in Europe (& here in the States). It’d be tragic if our Harleys were produced offshore; hopefully our incoming president will have a say in this if it materializes just as he did with deterring Ford moving small car production and Carrier moving their air conditioner factory to Mexico.

        • Harley may indeed manufacture bikes for the Asia bikers in Asia but I would not worry about Harley building bikes for the U.S. anywhere but here in the U.S. No way is Harley going to jeopardize the loyalty of American Harley riding bikers by building our bikes offshore. Harley understands that blue collar workers are there bread and butter and won’t ride Asian built Harleys. Wouldn’t be a Harley to an American rider it’d be just another clone. Besides, Harley is unionized here in the states and those same union workers buy Harley.

          • HD has been sourcing parts from Asia for decades. What’s the difference if those parts are also assembled in Asia?

            (And don’t get me started about all the HD branded clothing, boots, etc., that are sourced entirely offshore.)

        • Some Trumpets have their final assembly in Thailand with their engines having been made in GB. The Thailand facility is a mirror image of the Hinkley, England plant, to the exact same standards. The Rocket III’s are still completed in Hinkley, apparently as are some of the Bonneville’s. Regardless, they’re all to spec’s. where there is no apparent difference in fit, finish or overall quality. I own a Rocket III Touring, and it’s a fine machine… and I believe it still would be even if assembly had occurred in Thailand. Much is changing in the world, today, but good motorcycles have been produced all over that same world for many decades.

          • The results of many surveys show that the VWs built in Germany are better than the ones made in Mexico, the BMWs from Germany are better than the ones made in S. Carolina, and the Hondas made in Japan are better than the ones built in Ohio. That said; I prefer my Harleys be built here in the good ol’ USA. Just sayin’.

    • Well said and very interesting info if it can be corroborated… Trump should have an interesting slant on it once public… Cool news indeed… Cheers mate, G

  21. It’s kinda funny to read what you folks are slamming back and forth. I come from the day when we cut the iron off the top of the tree on our Triumphs and put on clip ons and a bikini fairing and modified the frame jerked off the junk we didn’t need. No worry about loose turn signals, didn’t come with that. No problem with rear view mirrors, only had one. Always smelled like gas because you didn’t have a choke you held down the buttons on the carbs to prime it and kicked till you puked because of the head shaving and overbore you did. I was glad if I had a speedo. Sure in the turns I could lean over hard on my racing dunlops and roll the throttle while hanging my butt 2 inches from the pavement and pull so far away from the sporties even the FXCR. But if I had to tour and get my butt 400 or 500 miles away I sure didn’t want to do it on my Triumph café racer. I have an FLD and I can say that just about any Japanese rocket can take me in the 1/4 mile but my FLD has a 6 speed gearbox on a 103 that’s mildly tweaked and it will get me down the highway in comfort and pull me up a nice mountain at low RPM. My old Triumph had a speedometer and that’s it . I am soon to purchase a Tri Glide and it has about everything. And it’s comfy and it has the horse and torque that my Triumph never had even if the little racer could out run it then It can’t out ride it.

  22. Hello to all and Happy New Year.

    I’M loving reading about the new HD’s. The zero to 60 MPH doesn’t phase me, maybe when I was 20 years old it would. I’m soon to be 65, and bought my first HD in 2015, it’s a 2009 STREET GLIDE FLHX. I owned 3 Honda motorcycles, and 1 BSA 441 Victor Special. My last Honda was a 1983 750 Shadow which was in 97. I rode it for 2 years and loved it. Back in 1983 I got into the ATC’s (3 wheelers) Graduated to 4wheelers for over 20 years. I felt I could ride them all year long, and I did! When I moved to Virginia in 2015, that was it! I said to myself it’s time for another motorcycle. I looked around and around, I picked out the 2009 Street Glide in Pewter Pearl. It’s probably not as fast as the Shadow I had 20 years ago, with the Shadow I never went over a 100 mile ride! This past summer, I took a ride to visit my oldest son in the North East corner of Pennsylvania. It’s an 8 hour ride from Virginia Beach, VA. That weekend I rode 1,300 miles (which is a record for me) when I got back home. I was ready to ride another 1,300 miles the next morning! I absolutely love my Street Glide.

  23. Does anyone know if you can put these newer Showa shocks, on a 2015 Ultra Limited?
    I’m assuming. the frame mounting points are identical.

  24. I have had a few Harleys, five of them amoungst the 250 motorcyles that I have owned,30 years dragbikes,jap bikes of course, five goldwings, and three Valkyries,I just bought a 2017 road glide ultra and can’t get enough of it, what a beautiful motorcycle and so much fun to ride,as far as cost, the goldwings aren’t cheaper, happy that I am on a Harley


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